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HomeNewsFour Native American Tribes Ban South Dakota Governor From Their Land

Four Native American Tribes Ban South Dakota Governor From Their Land

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A picture of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Four Native American tribes have banned South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem from accessing approximately 15% of the state’s land. The tribes decided to do so in response to Noem’s contentious words and actions regarding tribal leaders and their people.

Notably, Noem was banned by three tribes from their lands. After the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and the Cheyenne River Sioux also decided to prohibit Noem from their lands.

In 2019, the Oglala Sioux Tribe banned her from its land for supporting measures that targeted Keystone XL Pipeline protesters. The prohibition was therefore implemented in February. Notably, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, whose land is the Pine Ridge Reservation, is the country’s second-largest reservation.

In February, Noem stated that she wanted to send enforcement to Texas to help dissuade migrants at the US-Mexico border. Additionally, she claimed cartels had invaded South Dakota’s reservations.

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Moreover, in previous community meetings, she had accused the tribe leaders of being more concerned with earning money from cartels than raising their children. “We’ve got some tribal leaders that I believe are personally benefiting from cartels being there, and that’s why they attack me every day,” Noem said.

Noem claims to have identified a link between tribal officials and Mexican drug traffickers on reservations. Additionally, she asserts that certain tribal leaders benefited from the existence of cartels, resulting in regular attacks on her.

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On the other hand, tribal chiefs have accused Noem of politicizing violent crime situations on reservations and exploiting their communities for political benefit. 

“Governor Kristi Noem’s wild and irresponsible attempt to connect tribal leaders and parents with Mexican drug cartels is a sad reflection of her fear-based politics that do nothing to bring people together to solve problems,” chairwoman for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Janet Alkire said.

She further said that rather than make uninformed and unsubstantiated claims, Noem should work with tribal leaders to increase funding and resources for tribal law enforcement and education.

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Furthermore, Noem suggested that the rise of narcotics in reservations proves that “every state is a border state,” echoing other Republican governors’ criticism of President Joe Biden’s border policies. Noem’s office stated that restricting her to 15% of South Dakota would not solve the concerns she addressed.

Noem’s contentious comments about tribal chiefs, along with her affinity for Donald Trump’s abortion stance and other controversial utterances, have sparked speculation that she hopes to be Donald Trump’s running mate in the coming election.

However, the move appears to be counterproductive. Governor Noem’s actions and remarks have deteriorated her relationship with indigenous groups. Resulting in her ban from substantial areas of tribal grounds in South Dakota.

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